This past week I spent time with the Supreme Advocate regarding several issues dealing with the use of the name Knights of Columbus. Two areas of concern were highlighted. The first has been addressed, albeit briefly, at the Grand Knights Workshop and will be further discussed in Salem on August 17 in a round table Forum. The second was addressed, not by the Supreme Advocate, but by the Immediate Past Supreme Knight and the Supreme Knight, publicly.
This second issue is The Knights in the Market Place. From the highest positions in our Order the word has been issued, the Knights are now and always have been actively engaged in position politics. The Order was politically active when Brother Knights and Priest were being killed because they were Catholics and proudly proclaimed the Faith in Mexico, less than a century ago. The Order was politically active in getting One Nation Under God inserted into the Pledge of Allegiance. At the same time the Order is not partisan. Partisan in this instance refers to supporting one party or even one candidate over another. Thus, the order will not endorse or lend its name to any single candidate. The Order should, locally, state-wide and nationally, say we support these Truths as taught by The Church. These then are compared to positions of others. The question for Catholics should be, does this candidate support the Truth as taught by The Church?
How do we achieve this worth goal in this hotly debated political season that appears to be going to last for the next 2 years?
We, can, and should, hold informational meetings asking the various party candidates their position on issues that affect our lives and The Church. This can be done now, before the primaries to understand the positions of each candidate running in a contested primary. Individual Brothers are urged, by the Supreme Knight to become informed, get active and support those candidates now who reflect the virtues of The Church in their public (and especially private) lives.
After the Primary, Assemblies or Councils can and should join with their Parish(es) and invite ALL candidates for elected office to come to a program by whatever name you wish to use. A Town Hall, a Parish Meeting, a Voters Information Night, whatever name you choose, just be open and invite all candidates to participate. I could suggest a Q & A format, perhaps a 3-7 min intro bio from each and then open questions on issues. What issues affect The Church? Lets see, there is Life, abortion, death penalty, taxes, tax collection, business laws, property laws, immigration, charity funding by the state (did you know that you, through your State tax dollars support abortion in New Hampshire?). Yes, this means becoming an informed Catholic and an informed Citizen, but then again what other type of citizen is there? Within the Order this will count as a Community Activity at the Council Level and may qualify for the Patriot Award at the Assembly level.
For those who are running for office, as am I: You cannot ask a Brother for their vote solely upon the grounds of fraternal association. Thus, a candidate cannot say, vote for me, I am a Knight of Columbus.
Nor should other members say I am a Knight, vote for (whomsoever). That being said the candidate for office can, and I certainly will, proudly list my membership in the Order along with my membership in other organizations including the NRA, GONH, NHLI, ALEC, Liberty Alliance, House Republican Alliance, etc.
The Immediate Past Supreme Knight quoted a degree passage that should be familiar to us all. He reminded us that it is our fraternal duty to be informed, it is our fraternal duty to be engaged and it is our Catholic duty to fight back with Truth and Justice when the assaulted by those in Error.
NH State Council State Advocate
For more information of the Orders Political history please read Faith and Fraternalism, by Kaufman; Columbaid Magazine; Columbia Magazine
You may also find these interesting: http://www.kofc12311.org/2010.05.01_arch.ht http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/aug/08080703.html ; http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/religion/2092418/posts?page=1